Soft tissue sarcoma

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Treatments for stage 1 soft tissue sarcoma

The following are treatment options for stage 1 (localized and low-grade) soft tissue sarcoma. Your healthcare team will suggest treatments based on your needs and work with you to develop a treatment plan.


Surgery is a standard treatment for stage 1 soft tissue sarcoma. It may be the only treatment needed. A wide local excision is done to remove the tumour along with some normal tissue around it (surgical margin). If needed, limb-sparing surgery can be used for soft tissue sarcoma in an arm or a leg.

Sometimes another surgery is done to remove more tissue if there are still cancer cells found around the tumour or there wasn’t enough normal tissue removed.

Radiation therapy

You may be offered external radiation therapy for stage 1 soft tissue sarcoma. But it is not usually used for tumours that are very close to the surface of the body (superficial).

Radiation therapy can be given before surgery to help shrink a large tumour and make it easier to remove. It may also be given before surgery for tumours of the abdomen, trunk of the body or head and neck area because these tumours tend to be difficult to remove.

Radiation therapy may be given after surgery if there are still cancer cells found around the tumour (positive surgical margin) or there wasn’t enough normal tissue removed, especially when more surgery is not possible. This helps lower the risk of the cancer coming back (recurring).

If surgery can’t be done (the cancer is unresectable), radiation therapy may be used as the main treatment.

Clinical trials

Talk to your doctor about clinical trials open to people with soft tissue sarcoma in Canada. Clinical trials look at new ways to prevent, find and treat cancer. Find out more about clinical trials.


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